Bye bye PSP

0.005% of Yacapaca users run quizzes on the Sony PSP. That is not enough to justify the additional complexity in the user interface for everyone else, so as of today the PSP quiz template is no longer available. We will migrate all the old PSP quizzes to the Flash 10 templates very soon.

This does not mean we are giving up on mobile platforms forever. I am particularly taken with Android as a platform that makes huge sense in the third world especially, so look out for new excuses to buy cool gadgets in future.

Creative Commons Video

Out of 35,000 registered teachers on Yacapaca, I only have direct evidence that precisely one has actually read our Terms of Service.

He pointed out that our use of the Creative Commons license for all teacher-created content imposes responsibilities, as well as rights, on the author. Quite true. So just in case anyone else is interested in this, here’s a short video about it.

Discovered via Ellen Trude, whom I met on Twitter.

It doesn't feel like Google any more

It feels like the end of an era. Google has become so dominant in our lives, that you may need reminding that when it first appeared its spartan looks were quite shocking. Now, white backgrounds are almost de rigueur. Or they were until today!

Look at this skin that just appeared on my Google Mail! There are 20-odd skins to choose from, some looking suspiciously inspired by our wilder ePortfolio themes. If you’re a Gmail user, check out Graffiti, for instance.

All of a sudden I feel vindicated in my holding out for black backgrounds!

Tricks-of-the-trade that boost student motivation

I received a long and very thoughtful email yesterday from Calum Munro, who teaches IT in Melbourne, Australia. Calum said

Yacapaca is not … a resource to ‘over use’ as the students have a low concentration/interest span and if they use a quiz a lot (even with the shuffling that the program does) they just start to Continue reading

Data Protection Issues

Over on the TES R.E. Forum, user fpno asked

Are there any data protection issues with inserting the names of our students into [Yacapaca]?

It’s a question that (quite rightly) comes up regularly, so I thought it worthwhile to reflect here the answer I gave in the forum:

Under the Data Protection Act, you have a general responsibility to store and use your students’ data safely so, yes, there is an issue. You have to be sure that Yacapaca is at least as safe as the conventional alternative, and preferably safer. Here is what Yacapaca does to give you that reassurance:

  • Yacapaca’s digital site security is better than that of most banks’ online banking sites. See this report for details of how that is measured.
  • The site is hosted at Interxion London, one of the highest-security data centers in the UK. Here is their safety/security page.
  • And if somebody did get through all of that, there isn’t much they could do with the data. Yacapaca does not store students’ email addresses, so there is no way to contact your students other than through you.

Now let’s consider the alternative you are moving from. Most teachers are moving to Yacapaca from paper notebooks and worksheets. How secure are they? Do you ever leave a pile of notebooks in the back of the car whilst you pop into the shop? Probably. If you take them home, do keep them in a safe overnight? Of course not. I have never known students’ notebooks be treated as a security risk, but in fact they contain the exact same type of data that Yacapaca does.